Ghana: EWS-KT’s Next Frontier
By Elijah Mwashayenyi, Head of East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer in Africa
A few months ago, a colleague asked me this question: “Why are we not in Ghana? After all, it ticks all the Knowledge Transfer boxes.”
What he meant was that Ghana:
- has a sizeable population (27 million people) that is a good market for vegetables
- has a vegetable supply deficit that necessitates import of vegetables from Burkina Faso and other countries
- has a smallholder farmer population that needs capacity building
- is a country where cocoa production, rubber production, and mining have overshadowed vegetable production
- has a public-sector extension service that is limited in technical knowledge on vegetables and hence has difficulty serving the horticulture sector effectively
What my colleague did not realise at the time was that something was already in the works. After plenty of discussion and research, and as part of our 5-year commitment to reach 1 million farmers by 2025, EWS-KT had already decided it was time for action in Ghana. In fact, we intend to have our first Ghana Knowledge Transfer team on the ground by the end of 2022.
It is therefore not surprising that EWS-KT Board Chair Rutger Groot, EWS-KT Program Manager Femke de Jong, and myself went on a scoping trip to Ghana during the first week of July, laying the groundwork for setting up the Knowledge Transfer team and operation.
Meridian Seeds and Nurseries Ghana is the distributor for East-West Seed products in the country, and Managing Director Aaron Attefa Ampofo was kind enough to welcome us to Ghana and support us in meeting with various stakeholders. Here, Aaron shows us the preferred size for cucumbers in Ghana.
While we were there, we also met with the Netherlands’ Ambassador to Ghana. From left to right, Femke de Jong, H.E. Mr. Jeroen Verheul, Elijah Mwashayenyi, and Rutger Groot.
While our visit was by no means exhaustive, we were able to see the potential of our future work in the country. With quality seeds from East-West Seed already in use by farmers in Ghana, markets demanding better supplies of vegetables, and farmers needing capacity building, all that is needed now is the extension services to back this effort up. No wonder that East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation is about to enter the equation!